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Mendeguia eager to get first season under way

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com

Carlos Mendeguia, Carson’s new head basketball coach, was Bruce Barnes’ right-hand man for 11 years.

Barnes, who recently stepped down, was old school. He was hard-nosed and a yeller. Mendeguia was the calming influence. Mendeguia would be the guy to explain to a player coming off the floor what he had done right and what he’d done wrong.

“You need a father-type figure on the sidelines,” said Mendeguia, whose team opens the season on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. against South Tahoe in the Capital City Classic. “Sometimes, though, I’d get caught up in the game and get into somebody as well.”

What persona Mendeguia takes to the sidelines remains to be seen. After all, the season is still a couple of weeks away. Mendeguia will have more company on the bench, however.

Dick Lee, a former college coach at the University of Alaska and most recently at Sparks High School, has joined the staff along with John Paulson from Carson Middle School and Jeremiah Gray.

“Dick brings a plethora of knowledge and experience to the game,” Mendeguia said. “He has 30-plus years at the collegiate and high school level. He’s been around it for a long time.

“I felt like with a young group (experience-wise) we needed to give more attention to individual players and be able to break down the game more plus spend more time on fundamentals.”

This will be a young team with four returning players – junior point guard Matt Nolan, senior forward Chance Quilling, senior center -forward Ty Kiefer and senior guard Drew Moreland. Nolan was the only starter in that group.

Mendeguia hopes to see Dylan Sawyers, Austin Pacheco and Brock Pradere on the floor when football season ends. All three have signed up, so it will be interesting to see if they actually decide to try out. Mendeguia said all three played at Carson Middle School and all three have shown interest this year.

“When you make changes in the coaching staff there is always going to be more interest,” Mendeguia said. “They want to see what the new coach is about. Obviously tryouts have to be extended. The football players have the right to come out.”

Mendeguia said he will be doing some things differently.

“We’re doing different things system-wise,” Mendeguia said. “As far as playing hard and what’s expected of them that won’t change. We still want to teach the kids and develop their fundamentals.

“My philosophy is to teach the kids the game; to respect the game,” Mendeguia said. “I expect them to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. I expect them to play hard and play with passion.”

Mendeguia is preaching patience. Barnes had a short leash with the sophomores and juniors. As seniors, he would give them more opportunities to get things correct.

“We are going to give the players more opportunities to work their way through mistakes,” Mendeguia said.

One difference between the coaches will be on defense. Barnes believed in pressure, whether it was full court or half-court man-to-man or a half-court trapping defense.

Mendeguia said he will let the talent dictate what his team does.

“We’ll do whatever gives us the best chance to compete,” Mendeguia said. “If we have a slow team that can’t pressure, we won’t pressure. This summer we played 80 percent zone.”